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Eddie DeBartolo Jr. Selected as Contributor Candidate for 2016 Hall of Fame Class

For the second consecutive year, a long wait for a San Francisco 49ers legend to be immortalized could come to an end.

A month after five-time finalist Charles Haley received his gold jacket, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday that Eddie DeBartolo Jr., a three-time finalist, was selected as the sole candidate for the class of 2016 in the contributor category. To earn induction, DeBartolo must garner 80 percent of the final vote, which will take place on the eve of Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara. 

"I'm truly humbled... my football life is going through my head right now," DeBartolo said, according to the Hall of Fame.

DeBartolo served as Haley's presenter in Canton last month, the fifth time the former 49ers owner has done so. He also presented for Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Fred Dean and Jerry Rice. 

DeBartolo won five Super Bowls and had 16 consecutive seasons of 10 wins or more during his 23-year run in charge of the 49ers.

Haley used those numbers during his enshrinement speech to make a pitch for DeBartolo's inclusion.

"When you think about Hall of Famers, you think about winning," Haley said. "So if that's the standard, why is he not here? I pray that 'Mr.' gets into the Hall of Fame sooner than later."

Longtime NFL general managers Bill Polian and Ron Wolf were enshrined with the 2015 class in the first year of the contributor category, which honors individuals who made outstanding contributions to professional football in capacities other than playing or coaching. In previous years, DeBartolo was on the general ballot, which included players and thus made receiving the required number of votes more challenging. 

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